ECE Primus Plane No.711 Review By: I.Ball
Category: Specialist Planes
Plane Type: Wooden - Smoother
Model No: Primus - 711
The ECE Primus plane number 711 is a wooden smoothing plane from the
ECE plane range. ECE, manufactured by E.C. Emmerich of Germany, are
well known for their range of modern wood planes many of which are
based on traditional designs or traditional design ideas.
The ECE Primus plane 711 is also referred to as the ECE Primus Reform plane 711 and the ECE Improved Primus plane 711.
The 711 ECE Primus Reform plane is effectively what previously was classed as a transitional plane; it combines elements of a traditional wooden plane with elements of a traditional iron plane.
With the ECE 711, the plane has the front horned European style wooden smoothing
plane combined with a plane blade, cap iron, and blade adjusting mechanism similar'ish
in style to some traditional iron planes.
The plane body and front horn are made with selected quarter sawn fruitwood (usually cherry) and the sole is made with the very hard-wearing lignum vitae.
The combing effect of the dark wood of the lignum sole comb jointed to the lighter wood of the cherry body gives a great contrasting look and the look of a plane which has been well made with a thought of longevity of life.
The lignum sole is slightly self-lubricating as lignum is quite an oily wood however applying a wax or similar oily finish to the sole from time-to-time may help maintain a smooth planing action.
Thought has been given to the comfort of handling this plane with the plane body having various curves, rounded edges and depressions along with the large front curvaceous horn which allows you to get some really good leverage.
The ECE Primus Reform plane is made in a left-hand and right-hand version with the
difference being whether the front horn sits slightly to the left or right.
The 48mm (1 7/8 inch) wide plane blade made from German tool steel holds a good edge. The blade lies on a 50 degree bed which is also referred to as the 'York pitch'.
The 50 degree York pitch is a slightly steeper angle than most typical iron smoothing planes such as the Stanley 4 and Record 04 planes which have a bed of 45 degrees.
The 50 degree York pitch is the angle which many old British infill planes such as the Norris smoothing planes had their bed set at. The higher angle bed allows the plane to produce a great cut on more difficult grain.
The plane is equipped with the 'Primus' adjustment system which is designed to not allow any freewheeling of the screw and no back sliding of the iron; a system which has been unique to ECE.
The blade depth is adjusted with the use of the black knob at the rear of the plane. Turning the knob clockwise slightly creates a thicker shaving, turning the knob counter clockwise slightly creates a thinner shaving.
The ECE 711 has an adjustable mouth which is controlled with the screw found on
the top of the plane just before the front horn. The adjustable mouth allows the
plane mouth to be set from a fine mouth for fine work through to a wide open mouth
for coarse work. Generally a fine mouth is preferable as it helps prevent tear out.
The plane has no wedge which as a result allows the shaving to flow freely.
Being made from wood, the improved ECE 711 plane has some advantages over metal planes.
These advantages include it is easier to flatten the sole should it need doing, the wood absorbs a certain amount of vibrations to help reduce/prevent chatter, the wooden parts won't rust and if dropped the plane shouldn't suffer the devastating damage that a metal plane might, other than possibly if it were to land on the front horn; the front horn is quite substantial so I would imagine it would have to take quite a tumble to substantially damage this.
The plane is finished in a varnish to help protect the plane. If the varnish look is not preferable then it can be dulled by running some coarse wire wool over it.
The plane has the green circular ECE badge inlaid on top of the plane next to the front horn.
ECE have been making tools since 1852 when the company was first formed by Friedrich-Wilhelm Emmerich. Since then there have many generations of the family which have continued the ECE plane making who have had factories both in Germany and England during this time.
The Primus adjustment system was first developed around 1950.
* Important: please refer to the 'disclaimer' at the foot of this review.
* Wearing safety clothing and eye protection is usually a good idea to help protect against injury.
- The blade(s)/cutter(s) is very sharp, take suitable precautions when using/handling/storing
the plane/cutter(s) to prevent injury.
- Failure to loosen parts when making adjustments to the plane can result in damage to the plane such as cross-threading screw threads. Never force a part to move.
- Overtightening parts can cause damage to the plane and the plane threads.
selected quarter sawn fruitwood (usually cherry)
8 7/8 inch
mm ( inch)
1.30 kg (3 lb)
ECE Primus Reform Plane Blade / Cutter
Cutter: German tool steel
Cutter Width: 48mm (1 7/8 inch)
? - current day
ECE Primus Reform plane 711
ECE Improved Primus plane 711
(i) Please always refer to and follow the manufacturer's instructions / guidelines /
safety notices / cautions and similar notices as the manufacturer's instructions
may contain important information on safety, personal safety and the good health of your tool,
something to which this review's scope does not guarantee to extend to.
(ii) This review may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given in good faith however any such information should not be solely relied upon and should not be seen as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Refer to disclaimer note (i) for information on safety, as well as the good health of your tool. In addition refer to good safety practices for the safety of you and others. Refer to good practices for the good health of your tool and property.
(iii) The details here are given in good faith, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please be aware the details may also become out of date due to manufacturer changes to the product, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.
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